17 January 2018 - 1 Shevat 5778 - א' שבט ה' אלפים תשע"ח
JWA marks 70 years of service to Hong Kong E-mail

One of the earliest established Jewish charitable organisations in Asia, the Jewish Women’s Association of Hong Kong (JWA) will mark 70 years this year.

Its roots can be traced back to 1947. Hong Kong was then flooded with refugees, many of whom were Jews who fled WWII in Europe, and found safe haven in China, mainly in Shanghai. These refugees arrived in Hong Kong needing shelter, medical care, food, education and work.

A group of Jewish women led by Richie Raymond, Charlotte Gotkin and Anne Frenkel joined forces with the Red Cross and the Joint Distribution Committee to help those in need. They assisted anywhere possible, from completing visa applications to providing milk for babies and shelter for the refugees.

This group became a charitable organisation, now known as the JWA, which has since played a major role in the Jewish Community, raising funds through charitable events to cover the increasing needs of the expanding community, and organising communal activities such as the JWA Purim Party, the JWA Israel Independence Day Ball and the JWA Charity Bazaar.

In its early years, the JWA assisted refugees to make aliyah to Israel, via the organisation Igud Yotzeii Sin (Association of Former Residents of China). Later, it aided causes outside the Jewish community, sponsoring a drug rehabilitation programme for local women and funding a prison women’s ward.

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Top commander dies while on vacation in Thailand E-mail

A former head of the Israeli Navy’s special operations unit died in Thailand in April after suffering an apparent heart attack while on vacation.

The body of Gadi Shefi, 76, was discovered in a hotel room in the southern resort city of Pattaya after he went missing a week earlier. His family was notified.

“At this hard and painful time, we want to thank everyone for the help in finding our father,” his son Ari Shefi wrote on Facebook.

Shefi headed the Flotilla13 special operations unit from 1976 to 1978, during which time he oversaw a number of then-secret operations into Lebanon.

Writing on Twitter, former Israeli prime minister and IDF chief of staff Ehud Barak described Shefi as “a courageous warrior, a man of truth and an outstanding symbol of leading by personal example.”

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Australian piercing shop refuses to serve Israelis E-mail

A body-piercing shop in the North Queensland city of Cairns in Australia has displayed a sign saying “No Israelis served here”.

In April, Israeli tourist Mohr Wenger posted a photo of the sign on Facebook. She wrote in the post that she and a friend with whom she was travelling around Australia entered Cold Steel Piercing to have their noses pierced, only to be told by the owner that he would not serve them because they were from Israel.

“At that moment that guy said he can’t pierce our nose because he doesn’t serve Israelis out of principal [sic]. He said he doesn’t agree with what our government does and there for we are not welcomed in his shop,” she wrote. “He even pointed out a sign that we missed saying ‘No Israelis served here.’”

“A sign that means ‘I don’t want to listen, I don’t care who you are but if you are from Israel go away.’ That’s sugarcoating anti-Semitism. That’s sugarcoating racism,” she added.

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Cambodia to establish advanced agricultural training centre E-mail

Cambodia’s Agriculture Ministry has announced that it plans to establish an advanced agriculture training centre in Kompong Speu province funded by Israel, with model farms for Cambodian students to study the latest techniques, officials said.

According to the Cambodia Daily, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said the plan was initiated by Yaron Tamir, the CEO of Israel’s Agrostudies Program, during a meeting in March.

Cambodia has a long history of sending agriculture students to Israel, which is considered a world leader in agricultural technologies. Now, with a specialist Israel-backed centre in Cambodia, it is hoped that the students will be able to continue with advanced studies upon their return home.

Minister Sakhon said the Prek Leap National College of Agriculture has 20 hectares of land in Kompong Speu province’s Thpong district that could be suitable for the centre. “Our agro-technology is still low. So we need to learn from Israel,” Sakhon said. “This is a good chance for our students to learn advanced agriculture technology and exchange experiences in agriculture.”

The price and construction timeline remained unknown, he said, adding that the plan is still in the study stage. He said that Israeli experts would be invited to the centre to provide training to the students.

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Water Management seminar held in Myanmar E-mail

Two renowned Israeli experts from MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, conducted a course and workshop on “Water Management Training” in March, sharing Israel’s knowledge and experience in this field with Myanmar.

As part of the bilateral cooperation between Myanmar and Israel regarding training activities in agriculture, water management and other sectors, Shlomo Kramer and Yoram Eisenstadt held a series of workshops from 20 to 31 March at the Yezin Agricultural University.

The programme was also a collaborative effort between MASHAV, JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency), the Embassy of Israel in Myanmar and Yezin Agricultural University (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation).

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